the improvisor festival
August 1-30, 2010
Celebrating the 30 year Anniversary
I am so
happy to have this project completed now. It was a
brilliant and productive time for all participating artists
and communities, from Birmingham and from around the South,
particularly our guest artists in residence from New York,
North Carolina, and Florida, and those who made concerts who
came from Louisville, Athens, Chattanooga, Atlanta,
Nashville, Gainesville, Panama City, Jackson, NYC, Los
Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. From Huntsville,
Birmingham, Montevallo, Montgomery, Florence & Tuscaloosa.
Birmingham became a very inclusive crossroads for
these artists to meet, and co-mingle with an interested
audience from our community.
awareness, that this music is a form of cultural recreation,
that modern improvised music is an indicative cultural
folk-form of our own times, and that it will one day be
much a part of Alabama Folk Culture as bluegrass or blues.
It is a music which can be made by children, adults,
professionals, and amateurs alike. It only requires a deeper
attitude of listening and responding. It is not dominated by
mainstream commercial interests. It is a musical expression
of the people, personal, intimate, much like poetry. It can
be manifest in music, spoken word, or dance and movement. It
is an artistic attitude of “being in the moment” both as a
practitioner and as an observer. It takes concentration,
and a willingness to be open to the unknown possibilities
and potential that any event can manifest. It can be
mundane, artistic, or spiritual. It is becoming a new
language between those who create together, and those who
–LaDonna Smith, Director &
The VAST spectrum of
sounds combined with the high
streaming compression rate and the garbled phone signal gave an
alternative experience to all who listened and will listen. An
in-depth study of what you are not supposed to need to
hear and what
gets added. Si's laugh is also an added treat. Listen to it
-the improv radio show
Hi La Donna-----Thanks for having us.We also had a great set at
your house with Wally and Jill.
Wish you could have joined us.Another time!
Best, Ron Heglin
You managed another great fest with style and grace, hope to see
youse down at my place.
Greetings for Tuesday, and happy September tomorrow. I hope you
are recuperating from the fantastic event of the Improv
Festival, I have heard and seen nothing but good things. We
have such a strong and unique community, everyone talks of that.
was a wonderful Festival indeed thanks to the Labors of LaDonna
and so many others, and from seeing all the e mails, a
significant event for all involved, as
well as the art of Improvisation!
We welcomed new Improv family members and celebrated this art,
made deeper and more exciting by the long history many of us
have together, the caliber, unique quality, and infinite array
of talents we all possess.
It was so great to make art together, and you are on my mind a
lot. I was indeed very blue upon leaving B'ham after the show
this weekend, afraid I would never see you guys again,
but seeing the e mails and the connections made, I now know that
we all have more great work to do in the future.
I was very happy to see you all, very blessed by the riches we
share, and will miss you all until next time...which I hope is
at voitre service always...
Thanks again for such a wonderful month of great performances
and magical moments.
It is always a great pleasure to work with you - hopefully I the
chance will arise again soon!!!!
Thank you again for everything!!!!
Thank you so much for hosting the opening of the
improvisor festival! iT'S been amazing down here.. packed
houses every night for a month.. and it was so great to launch
everything from the Stone in NYC! The line-up was terrific. A
wonderful reunion. I'd just love to have some more leisure to
catch up with you and Roger sometime. They're talking a series
here.. ya'll just gotta come down sometime again soon!
Love and XOXOXOXo
Re: THE STONE,
Opening Night AUGUST 1
Likewise, it was wonderful to see you. I was so happy we could
open the month that way. We really made an effort to mix up the
month - lots of contemporary classical notated stuff, countered
with plenty of improv. Crowds at the stone have been much
better than usual here too. We got to play with Chris Cochrane,
and will play with him yet again. he sounds fantastic.
I'd love to spend more time with you too. But I'm not
complaining... it was wonderful to see you for just a few
minutes. As you know, this curating thing is exhausting!
EVERYONE ... lovely to have met & worked with you all.
I wish I could have come out Saturday night - sorry not
to have said "goodbye" to David & Juanita.
Unfortunately, my right siatic nerve decided to go into a
spasm, so I was rolling around on the floor with pain killers &
heating pads etc! - I've never experienced anything quite like
it & hope never to again!
Stay in touch
luv Claire Elizabeth Barratt
Thank you again for inviting me to
be a part of this event! It was a gas being able to interact
with everyone, and I only wish I somehow could have contributed
more once I got there. But what’s written in my general email
below is true: the memory of what we created together has given
me something particular and special to carry forward, both in
terms of inspiring me toward creating more work, and in regards
to my attitude about the value of what I’ve been and am doing as
an (improvising) artist.
So keep in touch…I too look forward
to when we’ll next see/play with each other [and let people know
when you get those gigs in NYC at The Stone or wherever].
Hope the last few Festival events
Back in NYC...hard to believe I've left behind the whirlwind of
and play that we all whipped up over the past week and a half.
Thanks to everyone for a most memorable 11 days! It was
fantastic to be part
of a (momentary) community of folks churning and struggling and
grooving and howling our way into and through some sweet sounds
vivacious dancing, figuring it all out as we went along. Which
is of course
how it works.
At the risk of echoing what a number of others have already
said, this was
incredibly energizing: to feel like what we do can make a
difference on a
number of levels--even if seemingly only for an instant or an
hour or two
(though it really always resonates much longer)--and to feel
included as a
valued participant and contributor amidst a group of people who
their/our lives in these many intriguing and intersecting
YOU. What was generated out of this time will for sure carry me
on in more
than a few ways as summer shifts into fall.
And another shout-out to LaDonna for conspiring to bring us
orchestrating our various communions. Most excellent, LaD!
So don't be strangers, y'all. Looking forward to meeting up
whatever context as we mosey on down the road.
P.S.--And to quote one of the wise ones..."Yabba-dabba-doo!"
Your participation with us was very special. I appreciate
your commitment from the very beginning, to come down here, and
stake residency in this wonderful month long of the improvisor's
crossroads.Surely, we'll see each other and play again soon.
Thanks to all of you, especially LaDonna, for making those two
weeks in Birmingham some of the happiest times of my life.
Meeting with old friends, making new ones, and creating some
exquisite art made the trip a fantastic adventure. Plus I got
some great recordings at the Zoo--Laughing Cookaburras and the
mating calls of Crested Screamers were superb.
-Doug Carroll (see article)
Thanks for a wonderful 4 days, and to all who contributed work
artistic, administrative, technical, and janitorial. We went
lot together. My experiences and the community you all form are
dear to me. I feel inspired, exhausted, grateful to have been
and more committed to art and what it represents to the world --
thinking, desperately needed.
I am wondering how Laura is, Sycamore. I hope she is moved by
written notes, etc.
and speaking of moved, here's to the movement.
The Improvisor Festival 2010 was like being on revolving
carousel of celebration under a sky of shooting stars. Each
event was generously presented to varying degrees of
improvisation that challenged the parameters of creative
expression, in personal and shared ways. The performances were
exceptional and inspired, as were the audience members
attending. Difficult listening, weirdly kinetic, provocatively
curious, engaging beginner's mind. Overall, a deeply healing
experience for me.
With love and much appreciation for all the musicians, dancers,
vocalists, poets, healers who embraced tenderness within the
indescribable, moment by moment.
Especially in awe of LaDonna Smith, Lee Shook and all those who
were also behind the scenes producing and supporting.